The IMF Team in Asia: Connecting With Top Myeloma Experts, Collaborating on New Guidelines, Investigating Promising Research

The IMF team is in Tokyo this week. Susie Durie, Lisa Paik, Dan Navid, and I are here for the 43rd Annual Japanese Myeloma Society Meeting, the oldest of the country-based myeloma meetings globally and one of the most active.

It promises to be a busy week.

The Asia-Pacific region is home to approximately 60 percent of all myeloma patients, so it’s fitting that in the meeting’s keynote lecture, I will address the question we researchers constantly ask: “Can we cure or prevent myeloma?”


The Truth About Toxins: New Studies Point to Increased Risk of MGUS in Firefighters Exposed to 9/11 Carcinogens

A new study shows that New York City firefighters who responded to the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attack are twice as likely to develop the myeloma precursor state MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance). Many cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) were in the air, generated by collapsed skyscrapers, including PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), dioxins, asbestos, diesel smoke, and others. It is therefore not surprising to find an increased risk of cancer among those exposed.


Resilience in action

After returning from Europe, where Susie and I recently received a joint honorary doctorate from VUB, there was much catching up to do. But when I arrived home from the office, the Wi-Fi was not working. This is a problem because other reception does not work where we live. A tech support person came to the rescue and replaced an old router. Still no luck. We tried a different cable input source. That didn’t work either. The input source, located on the roof, appeared to be okay.  I realized that the cable snaked out from the roof and across a lane behind our house. I opened the back gate and spotted the broken cable dangling. Our IT hero clambered through the branches of a large tree to reconnect our cable. Success! Definitely a “Wi-Fi Warrior”!

Black Swan researchers identify good-risk and poor-risk MRD patients, China’s ‘disruptive’ biotech, and reasons to eat ‘real food’

This week, several reports provide good news for myeloma patients. The Spanish GEM/PETHEMA cooperative study group, supported through the Black Swan Research Initiative, has demonstrated important differences between patients with good- and poor-risk MRD-positive disease in a study published in Leukemia.



Toxic Exposures Unleashed

I have previously discussed ways to prevent myeloma.  A key step is to avoid toxic exposures. Although the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, clearly identifies chemicals known to cause cancer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently rolling back many programs and rules to protect Americans. This is especially disturbing since the same chemicals that cause cancer, also cause brain damage in children.